At just 26 years old, Jon Jones is the greatest fighter on the planet.
Some, including this author, might say that the reigning light heavyweight champion has placed Anderson Silva and Fedor Emelianenko in his rear-view mirror, effectively becoming the greatest fighter the world has ever seen.
Being the pound-for-pound best doesn’t come without widespread, sometimes well-deserved criticism, though.
Whether it’s refusing to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice, being arrested for DWI or declining to sign a fight contract that would ensure a sequel to one of the greatest fights in the history of the light heavyweight championship, he’s long been a target of fans' ire.
The first was questionable. The second was inexcusable. The third is unacceptable.
Fans of Jon Jones deserve more.
Spin it however you’d like, but there’s reason for boxing diehards to disregard Floyd Mayweather Jr. as the greatest fighter to ever live. A perfect record and impenetrable defense is great and all, but many will ceaselessly question why a bout between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao never came to fruition.
Color it a dispute over revenue. Call it a clash over performance-enhancing drugs. Know it as a shame—MMA fans cannot let Jones make the same career-defining mistake.
Without a genuine statement from Jones, there’s no real way of understanding what’s preventing him from signing on for the rematch with Alexander Gustafsson. Some have speculated that he wants more money. Dana White has stated that Jones would rather fight Daniel Cormier instead. On his Facebook account, Gustafsson has gone as far as to claim Jones was “running” from him.
Jon 'Bones' Jones, be a man, be a champ and sign that bout agreement and stop running. Keep in mind that after I beat you and become the champ I might be doing the same for you when you chase me for a rematch, as a revenge for not accepting my challenge. Sooner or later you will have to face me, just make it sooner! The fans want this fight, UFC wants this fight and I want this fight, and I damn deserve it.
Impatient with the champ’s reluctance to defend his strap, Cormier, the UFC’s No. 2-ranked light heavyweight, has opened himself up to a fight with Gustafsson—a fight that would determine the UFC interim light heavyweight champion.
Who should Jones fight next?
Cormier could lose his perfect record, and Gustafsson could lose that near-invincible aura he developed since going on a tear back in 2010—this fight wouldn’t be a good idea.
Jones should fight both because he’s the best to ever be, and some still don’t believe it.
Decisive victories against Gustafsson, the only man who fought him five rounds en route to a questionable decision, and Cormier, another man who many consider to be the only one who could consistently put Jones on his back, would cement his legacy and silence all the naysayers.
So, please, Jon, sign the contract and continue on your ascendance to unforeseen heights—your fans deserve it.